Since 9 July 1999, we have been updating our GeoCities web site through our GuestWorld Guest Book, which is, fortunately, controlled by Lycos/Tripod. With yesterday’s breaking of the news from Chicago of the filing of a lawsuit by 28 college athletes who were recorded nude, without their consent in various college locker rooms, we felt it important to gather all of our various messages from exile into one place where their attorneys and law enforcement agencies around the world could view it conveniently.
What, after all, have we been saying for the last 19 days? That international pornographers could obtain your picture or the picture of one of your family members, and post it on the Internet without your knowledge or consent!
Now that Eric Fidler of the Associated Press has broken the story of the exploited college athletes, perhaps the GeoCities members whose web site content Yahoo! Inc. Is so anxious to seize control of will realize the significance of what we have been saying and understand that our shouting in the wilderness has been more than paranoid rantings.
We have no evidence that Yahoo! Inc. or any of its officers, employees or agents were involved in this disgraceful abuse of the privacy of college athletes, but -- AGAIN -- we draw your attention to Yahoo! Inc.’s rushed acquisition of Broadcast.com which specializes in live video feeds, our receipt of e-mail forwarded to us by Yahoo! Inc. from an international pornography syndicate which BOASTS that it is “banned in 39 countries” and their use of “live action video feeds” and “hidden cameras”to obtain their material for distribution on the Internet. AND, we AGAIN point to Yahoo! Inc.’s Securities and Exchange Commission “Edgar” filing from June, in which Yahoo! Inc.’s Board of Directors state in sworn testimony that Yahoo! Inc. may be held liable for actions against Broadcast.com and Yahoo! Inc.’s own, un-named international “partners, ” and AGAIN, we draw your attention to the sworn statement Yahoo! Inc.’s Board of Directors that they intended to “share” information obtained from GeoCities accounts with their un-named international “partners.” Certainly Yahoo! GeoCities has assured GeoCities members that they will not sell any data obtained from geoCities to any other party, but -- from saying that they would not “share” that data and web site contents, they have sworn that it is their intent to do so in order to “commercialize” GeoCities.
Mind you, we have tried to find help in this struggle against the abusive invasion of our privacy by Internet companies. We contacted Buddy Smith, spokesman for the American Family Association (Donald Wildmon’s outfit), which is based in Tupelo, Mississippi, on both 15 July and 23 July (the Friday before the athletes were forced to file their lawsuit) detailing Yahoo! Inc.’s activities, expressing our belief that the smut being peddled by the pornographers whose mail Yahoo! Inc. sent to us violated “community standards” in Hollywood, California (which gives you an idea of just how nasty it was!), and expressing our opinion that the material certainly violated Tupelo local laws, Mississippi state laws, and (probably) Federal laws as well, and we asked Mr. Buddy Smith twice if the American Family Association would alert local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to Yahoo! Inc.’s conduct. Having received no reply from the Buddy Smith or the A.F.A., we can only conclude, as we have stated on a number of occasions, Donald Wildmon’s followers are far more interested in looking at little boys in Calivin Klein ads than they are in fighting real crimes, like the international peddling of sexually explicit material involving (apparently)under-age teenaged girls. The American Family Association apparently only gets excited by the prospect of alleged “kiddie porn” with boys, not girls.
Nor have we neglected to contact public officials. On 20 July 1999, we contacted both John Dowlin and David Krings, County Commissioners of Hamilton County, Ohio (home of Cincinnati, the home of law enforcement purges of “Gay” art in public museums, advising them that Yahoo! Inc. was probably sending this trash into the homes of Ohio GeoCities residents (some probably as young as 13 years old), and again stating that we thought the material was in violation of their community standards, and again asking their help in contacting local, state and Federal law enforcement authorities in Ohio. Again, we received no response.
The upshot of this is that because our supposed “guardians of morality and righteous Christian living” could not -- or would not -- be bothered to initiate legal proceedings against Internet pornography purveyors, 28 brave college athletes have had to step forward and risk having their most intimate moments (and parts) bared before court clerks, juries, the press, and anyone who can get into the courtroom when their case is heard. This to protect what few shreds of privacy they have left.
We salute the athletes who have been brave enough to step forward to fight the insidious invasion of our privacy by hidden cameras, smut purveyors, and their “partners,” including (ultimately, we are fairly certain) multi-billion dollar Internet giants. Battle on, boys -- because “that’s what Brian Boitano would do!!!”
Please note that the following samizdata include a variety of material which we have not been permitted to post on our GeoCities web site by Yahoo! Inc., including the announcement that . . .
We've mentioned previously that we have an international audience. Now EuroSeek™ has made it official. After being listed with Euroseek™ since 10 April 1999, we have received more than 17,500 "hits!"
Name: The Grand Panjandrum Website: The Jaundiced Eye Productions Home Page Referred by: NewsGroups From: I'm in exile at the moment Time: 1999-07-09 11:25:00 Comments:
Hello, good readers! For the benefit of those of you who haven't heard from the newsgroups yet, Yahoo, Inc. bought GeoCities and is trying to force long-time GeoCities content providers ("homesteaders") like us to sign a five page "terms of service" adhesion contract which we consider to be illegal on its face. Since we have refused to agree to their illegal terms (which would include signing away our copyright licences to those wonderful pictures of the stars which the studios authorize us to use), they have locked us out. Don't fret too much for us, though, because on or about Bastille Day we will be obtaining an injunction against them, and probably filing a big fat lawsuit, too.
In the meantime, those of you who HAVE been following this epic struggle should read Yahoo's 25 June 1999 Securities and Exchange Commission Form S-3 filing. It can also be accessed through the "investor services" links at Yahoo.com. It is written in surprisingly plain language and shows just what a scam Yahoo has been trying to pull over on the "members" of GeoCities - notice, GeoCities homesteaders are "members," not "customers" or "clients." Page 14 of the form goes into really great detail about how Yahoo bought GeoCities "for the commercialization of those services" which we have been -- how many times I have told you this over the last few years???!!! -- trying to provide you for FREE. We intend to hold out until the bitter end -- "that's what Brian Boitano would do!!!" Speaking of which, here's Christian Leopold Shea's microscopic © 1999 On-Line Reviews:
"Two of the best movies of 1999 are in theaters right now: South Park and The Red Violin. Well, we KNOW South Park isn't going to win any Oscars for anything except sound or music, but The Red Violin is something magic; it is easily the best film dealing with classical music since Milos Forman's Amadeus, and, if big bucks spending doesn't sway the Motion Picture Academy, look for The Red Violin to be nominated for AT LEAST six Oscars®, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Art Direction, Best Original Screenplay, Best Costuming, Best Sound, etc. The Red Violin is over two hours long, but (even when big bucks money transfers are taking place) it is so absorbing, so captivating, so spiritual, so blissful, that it could easily be three or four hours long and STILL keep its audience's attention. Indeed, I was so enraptured by The Red Violin, that at times I wanted to close my eyes to listen to the beauty of the music, but dared not, for fear of missing the beauty unfolding on the screen. GO SEE THE RED VIOLIN! In fact, go see it two or three times -- you won't be sorry. The Red Violin gets my highest rating: W8: Worth $8.00. (So does South Park, but -- trust me -- it has an 'R' rating for good reason! If you can't get in to see it, just say, "M'kay that poo!" and go see The Red Violin -- a completely different movie, but just as wonderful.)
"My personal understanding is that Samuel L. Jackson went to great personal lengths to see that The Red Violin was made; if true, I would gladly fall to the ground, hug his knees to thank him, and even forgive him for appearing in The Phantom Mis-Fire. Sorry, folks, but there isn't any room for pictures from it here! You can thank Yahoo for that."
On-Line Reviews of Metroland, Hard, and the restored classic The Third Man should be appearing in our next "samizdat from the Geo-Gulags". Having been forced to keep our GeoCities website both FREE and "KID SAFE" by publishing here in our own Guest Book, we limit the size of our postings so as not to impose too much on Lycos and Guestworld. In the meantime, we intend to carry on the fight to protect the members of GeoCities whom Yahoo, Inc. is trying to strongarm into agreeing to an outrageous "terms of service" adhesion contract by carrying on the fight against Yahoo from exile at Lycos's GuestWorld . . . "because that's what Brian Boitano would do!!!"
In our 9 July 1999 "samizdat from the Geo-Gulags" we mentioned how we had managed to access and read Yahoo's sworn 25 June 1999 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Form S-3 Filing. (Any of our visitors can also read Yahoo's plans just by clicking on that phrase, "Form S-3 filing.") It can also be accessed through the "investor services" links at Yahoo.com. It is written in surprisingly plain language and shows just what a scam Yahoo has been trying to pull over on the "members" of GeoCities -- notice, GeoCities homesteaders are "members," not "customers" or "clients;" that is an extremely important point for other exiled GeoCities members to remember if they live in a city or state which guarantees "equal access" to services to all members of an organization. Page 14 of the form goes into really specific detail about how Yahoo bought GeoCities "for the commercialization of those services" which contain "member-provided content," which we have been -- how many times I have told you this over the last few years???!!! -- trying to provide you for FREE.
It ALSO has a very strong bearing on a Guest Book message we received in April and replied to on our main page -- a reply which simply "disappeared" one day recently (through accident or negligence, no doubt) while we were updating our GeoCities web site. We repost that "disappeared" message and some very recent news here in our LYCOS-maintained Guest Book, where it cannot be deleted "accidentally" by anyone "maintaining" or "upgrading" anything controlled by Yahoo, Inc. (such as our GeoCities homestead, for example). The reply also has MANY links to other pages on our web site which many of our visitors may not have even known existed:
Record 192 Name: Amber Benson Website: Referred by: Just Surfed On In From: LA Time: 1999-04-11 10:13:00
"Comments: You guys seem to be obsessed with Tobey, Kevin and Leo. Too bad you haven't taken into account the other strong performances by the WOMEN in the film. Believe me, THEY give the film its heart. It's a shame that even on the computer women still don't make the grade."
We received this distressed and distressing message on our Guest Book, and we feel it necessary to reply promptly. Although Amber doesn't state which film she is speaking of, we dare assume that it is Don's Plum, which made headlines last year when its director sued Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire for US $20,000,000, alleging that they were using their influence in Hollywood to block its release. As we have noted on our page for Don's Plum, since the issue was the subject of a lawsuit, no one connected with the making of the film could or would speak with us (despite our offering thm every enticement which we could, including four hours of free TeeVee studio time to debate each other, tape relies and sound bites, etc.).
If we failed to mention the women in the film, it is for the simple reason that they were not parties to the lawsuit, and there was no "compelling public interest" in reproducing pictures of them from the film. As it is, the pictures which we do have are connected to a stern warning that the copyright status of the photos on our page is not certain, but we were presenting them as fair commentary on a news story ("fair comment" is one exception in U.S. copyright law).
Other than that, Ms. Benson, we would like to point out that we do give coverage to women here at the Jaundiced Eye (see, for example, the following picture from Deep End of the Ocean, our frequent updates on the condition of Reese Witherspoon, which appear primarily on the page for her fiancée, Ryan Phillippe, our insistence that Dangerous Beauty, was one of the best films of 1998, that Sandy Powell was deserving of her Oscar® nominations for Velvet Goldmine and for Shakespeare in Love (for which she won), and our very strong suggestion to members of the Writer's Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS®) to consider the screenplay for 10 Things I Hate About You..)
If that doesn't satisfy you, please see our ON-Line Reviewer's comments on Little Voice, in which he singles out a minor supporting actress for special mention, and our broadside at Disney for butchering 54, which may have increased Neve Campbell's role, but at the expense of cutting Salma Hayek's (whom he further cites in his review of The Faculty). Still not enough for you? Check out our Reviewer's comments on Another Day in Paradise, his comments in our review of Playing By Heart about Gena Rowlands and Gillian Anderson re-inventing the concept of "the leading lady," and of course, our promise below to quote from Jennifer Tilly's interview with her Bride of Chuckie co-star Alexis Arquette, and our notice of her nomination for a Saturn Award for that film. And if all of that doesn't convince you that we give a fair shake to women on our page, please see selection of photos for Cruel Intentions, and our intrepid Reviewer's tale of what he went through to get Christine Baranski's autograph. We dare contend that Sarah Michelle Gellar, Selma Blair and Christine Baranski count as actresses! (In the realm of non-acting celebrities, please note that on the day you posted your message, we had a comment on this very page that ITN's Daljit Dhaliwal was our favorite news reader.)
We hope that we have redeemed ourselves in your eyes, Ms. Benson. If not . . . tant pis . . . we can't please everyone, so we please ourselves and our regular visitors.
(11th July notes again): By the way, we are ALMOST sure that failure of the the graphic banner link we have to the Poster Partner Program of the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children to load properly since Yahoo, Inc. barred us from updating our page is JUST a coincidence and does not mean that Yahoo, Inc. is trying to prevent anyone from being able to reach the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children through our page. Clicking on the half-missing banner beneath our plea to you, our visitors, to watch out for other people will still take you to the to the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children Poster Partner page, as will just clicking on that phrase HERE, where Yahoo has no power. At least, it would before we posted this in our Guest Book where the yahoos could read it. . . .
We are almost sure because we have GeoCities mail forwarding to Microsoft's Hotmail. Yesterday we received at Hotmail an e-mail addressed to "email@example.com" which was clearly obtained from the content on our GeoCities web site (we have rarely posted the "geocities.com" address anywhere else for more than a year). The e-mail was for a partnership plan in an Internet porno operation which BOASTS that it is "banned in over 39 countries." Considering that the porno outfit uses "5,000+" video feeds and that a major part of Yahoo's S.E.C. filing concerns their plan to take-over Broadcast.com, which SPECIALIZES in video feeds, it is obvious (to us, at least) what sort of "internet promotion" Yahoo could make of GeoCities sites, and it ESPECIALLY makes clear why they might possibly want to "alter or modify" the content. Just a few months ago we responded to (Amber's criticism) that we were not giving enough coverage to actresses on our site by replying that one reason that we didn't is that internet pornographers frequently take the faces or heads of actresses and female celebrities whose pictures appear on web sites and paste them onto the bodies of nude models, so that it appears as though famous actresses are appearing nude on their porno sites, and that we would NOT knowingly be aparty to that sort of thing.
Mind you, we are not suggesting that Yahoo, Inc. is "partnering" with Internet pornographers, or with foreign gambling interests (in Australia, for instance), or with any other organization which engages in any activity which might be illegal . . . in the United States . . . or at least what their five-page "terms of service" SPECIFICALLY DEFINES as "the County of Santa Clara, California." We leave it to Attorneys General and Courts to determine whether laws in other states might be ("accidentally" we are sure) violated in Georgia, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nevada, the City of Cleveland, Ohio, or in any foreign country. We do note however, that Yahoo, Inc. devoted a substantial section of its S.E.C. Form S-3 filing of 25 June 1999 to unforseen effects on Yahoo's finances of foreign laws.
Don't have any celebrity pictures on your site? Well, if pornography doesn't offend you and you are over 21, you can have a gander at just what sorts of photo banners these Internet pornographers (who contacted us through Yahoo-controlled GeoCities Mail, remember!) want their "partners" to put up: (http://www.DELETEDBY JAUNDICED_EYE_FOR THE GUEST_BOOK.com/webmasters/banners.html). Since we will not post their link here, let us summarize their third photo banner; its text is: "What do you prefer??? Younger | Older," with "younger" being attached to a picture of someone who could be anyone's sixteen-year-old-or-so daughter fondling her privates while nude; "older" being attached to a topless woman who could be anyone's twenty-something wife. Anyone who posts their family photos on their GeoCities website and agrees to the five page "terms of service" had better do some heavy-duty exploring of the WHOLE Internet if they think that "altering" and "modifying" content is something 100% pure and innocent! They should also read that S.E.C. filing of Yahoo's and see how many times Yahoo, Inc. refers to un-named "partners" (current or potential) in seventeen countries (not all of which have strict child pornography laws). By the way, the S.E.C. filing does mention Yahoo's expansion into Australia, but does not specify EXACTLY what that expansion is (like, whether or not it is with Internet gambling interests based in Sydney). Then they can draw their own conclusions about just what Yahoo is up to when they tell the S.E.C. that they want to "commercialize . . . GeoCities member-provided content."
We TRIED to post warnings about this on the "moderated" Yahoo Boycott board, but neither of our notices were put up. Apparently, whoever it was who dreamed up the supposed "boycott" of Yahoo (in which we did NOT participate) really, really REALLY wants people to THINK it is okay to agree to Yahoo's new adhesion contract/"terms of service" which gives Yahoo the right to "promote your site . . . on the Internet" -- a term which they NOWHERE define. As to all of the other little show-pieces on privacy and copyrights Yahoo has put up, they carry ZERO legal weight -- the "terms of service" do NOT "incorporate them by reference," so they are NOT part of the "terms of service," and would be thrown out as irrelevant by almost any court if anyone brought them forward. The only thing which matters is whether or not a person agrees to the five specific pages which Yahoo is strong-arming people to agree to; anyone who DOES agree to those terms has very little legal recourse if the face of anyone whose picture appears on that person's web site winds up being slapped on some sex picture by Internet pornographers who obtained it from Yahoo -- the "terms of service" gives Yahoo permission to do things like that to "promote" Yahoo! GeoCities sites on the Internet (EXCEPT on GeoCities, where it is prohibited -- and where the people whose pictures are being used might actually see theselves engaging in what Savana.com BOASTS "has been labeled perverse and on the fringe of decadence . . . banned in over 39 countries"). But we AGAIN stress that we have no conclusive "evidence beyond a reasonable doubt" that Yahoo, Inc. has any intention of releasing any content from any GeoCities web site to any organization that may be alleged to be engaged in pornography, gambling, racketeering, restraint of trade, or any other such activity. We repeat and re-emphasize: "no conclusive 'evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.'" We just think it strange that suddenly our GeoCities mail address has been re-activated after being virtually abandoned by us and that we are now receiving e-mails forwarded to us by Yahoo from international pornographic and gambling interests. That, however, is NO evidence at all that Yahoo is knowingly, willfully, and intentionally engaging in any sort of "partnership" or any other type of co-operation with any alleged "Racketeer-Influenced Corrupt Organization," or anything which anyone might even think was engaged in any illegal activities anywhere in the world; capice, paisans?
In fact, Yahoo's own S.E.C. filing makes it clear that they really have no control over what their "partners" do with material which they obtain from Yahoo and that Yahoo may be held legally liable for what their partners do, although they did not expect to be held liable. Of course, they didn't expect us to read the filing, which was signed and sworn to by EIGHT members of Yahoo, Inc.'s Board of Directors, after those Directors, or their agents or employees, locked us out of our own web site for refusing to become a party to what Yahoo itself acknowledges may ultimately turn out to be ILLEGAL activities by their "partners."